Diego Maradona dead – Argentina legend dies of heart attack aged 60 two weeks after brain bleed
FOOTBALL legend Diego Maradona, who is widely regarded as one of the game's greatest ever players, has died of a heart attack aged 60.
The Argentine forward – notorious for his infamous "hand of god" goal against England – died at his home on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.
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His death comes two weeks after surgery following a bleed on the brain.
Maradona – who turned 60 last month – has suffered a long battle with his health forcing him to make numerous trips to hospital in recent months.
His last words before he died were "Me siento mal" or "I don't feel well" in English.
Maradona had gone back to bed after having breakfast with his nephew Johnny Esposito and telling him he was going to lie back down.
A nurse treating him at home later called an ambulance but he could not be saved, according to local reports.
Argentine President Alberto Fernandez declared three days of national mourning in honour of the star, who was a cultural icon and national hero.
Thousands of grieving fans took to the streets in Buenos Aires and Naples, and a minute's silence beforelast night's games in the Champions League.
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Maradona himself dubbed his infamous 1986 goal the "hand of god" – as he lunged forward and knocked the ball into the back of England's net in a clear handball.
But during the same game he also scored what is widely considered to be one of the best goals of all time.
The legend dribbled from inside his own half, leaving the England side in his wake, before slotting the ball past Peter Shilton.
It became known as the "goal of the century".
Gary Lineker, who played in the England side beaten by Maradona in 86, tweeted: "By some distance the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time.
"After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully he'll finally find some comfort in the hands of God."
One of the most gifted football players in history, Maradona's pinnacle of glory came when he captained Argentina to win the World Cup in 1986.
His career then hit a low point as plunging he was kicked out the 1994 World Cup for doping.
Years of drug use, overeating and alcoholism brought an end to his stellar career – and left him almost dying of cocaine-induced heart failure in 2000.
The No. 10 he wore on his jersey became synonymous with him, as it also had with Pele, the Brazilian great with whom Maradona was regularly paired as the best of all time.
And Pele was among those who mourned the the legendary player.
"I have lost a dear friend, and the world has lost a legend. One day, I hope, we will play soccer together in the sky," he said.
Tributes have also flooded in from other players who all regarded him as the one of the all times greats.
Fellow Argentine legend Lionel Messi wrote on Instagram: "A very sad day for all Argentines and for football.
"He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal.
"I keep all the beautiful moments lived with him and I wanted to take the opportunity to send my condolences to all his family and friends."
Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo added: "Today I say goodbye to a friend and the world says goodbye to an eternal genius.
"One of the best ever. An unparalleled magician.
"He leaves too soon, but leaves a legacy without limits and a void that will never be filled. Rest in peace, ace. You will never be forgotten."
England captain Harry Kane said: "Privileged to have met him. Very sad news. RIP Diego Maradona."
Maradona had spent eight days on a ward after he was admitted for an emergency operation for a blood clot on the brain earlier in November.
His lawyer Matias Morla described it as a "miracle" he was still alive just two weeks ago and described the surgery as the "most difficult moment of his life".
Maradona's ex-girlfriend insisted shortly before his subdural haematoma was discovered that he needed urgent treatment for his "real problem" – alcohol addiction.
Rocio Oliva spent six years with the recovering drug addict and came close to marrying him before their split at the end of 2018.
Last November, the former footballer was forced to deny he was dying in an extraordinary video address to fans after his daughter Gianinna hinted he was being "killed from inside" with sedatives.
He also told his growing brood of children he will leave them nothing after his death because he will donate his fortune to charity.
In a video filmed from what appeared to be his home in Argentina, Maradona, said: “What I do know is that as you get older, people worry more about what you’re going to leave than what you’re doing.
“I tell you all that I’m not going to leave anything, that I am going to donate it.
"I’m not going to give away everything I earned by running during my life, I’m going to donate it.”
Maradona won the World Cup with Argentina in 1986 and became notorious for his 'Hand of God' goal against England.
The Argentinian started his career at Boca Juniors before moving to Barcelona where he won the Copa del Rey trophy.
But he became a hero in Naples inspiring Napoli to two Serie A titles in the late 1980s.
His career also saw a spell in Spain with Sevilla before going back to Argentina with Newell's Old Boys and Boca.
By some distance the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time.
Maradona is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time and was the inspiration for Argentina's success in '86.
He also led the country to the final of the 1990 tournament in Italy and managed them in South Africa in 2010.
The AFA said on Twitter: "The Argentine Football Association, through its president Claudio Tapia, expresses its deepest sorrow for the death of our legend, Diego Armando Maradona.
"You will always be in our hearts."
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